Little Italy: Part Three

The final part of my walk around Little Italy in San Diego introduces you to some of the lovely buildings in this area, including several from the Victorian era.

Founded in 1962, the Firehouse Museum occupies the former home of San Diego Fire Station No. 6, which now resides in Otay Mesa. The museum’s brick-and-mortar building in Little Italy features firefighting equipment and apparatus dating back to the late 1800s.

The Washington Elementary STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Magnet School has been located in the centre of Little Italy since 1914, making it one of the oldest schools in San Diego.

If you find yourself in San Diego then I would recommend spending a day in Little Italy – there are many Piazzas including a new one Piazza della Famiglia which is in the heart of the area, a 10,000-square-foot European-style piazza on W. Date Street, connecting India and Columbia Streets opened in March 2018. I just might have to go back for one last visit.

~wander.essence~ photography

Little Italy: Part Two

One great thing about Little Italy, is the abundance of public art displays . Walking around the district you can’t help stopping to look at and photograph the walls. There are several very interesting street murals including this one which can be found on the corner of Juniper and India, and was created by Dawn Morrison Wagner, a chalk artist.

Angel Mural (Filippino Lippi)

A mural high on a wall depicts Venetian Gondoliers.

Fragment of the Sistine Chapel on a building wall.

Mural titled I Pescatori by artist Renee Garcia, 2003. Depicts tuna fishermen who lived in Little Italy (many were Italian immigrants) fishing off the coast of San Diego.

Ben-Hur Coffee. A cool old advertisement on the side of an old brick building.

Several murals that together are titled “Eredita Italiana” by Yakov Kandinov, 2004. According to a nearby plaque, this is a Precious Cheese Art Mural Project.

And in Little Italy’s Amici Park you can find four sculptures that depict tables of tasty food. The red and white checkered tablecloths you see are actually glass mosaics. The recipes beside the plates are designed so that inquisitive gourmets can take a rubbing, and bring the recipe home.  The entire installation is called A Recipe For Friendship and was created by Nina Karavasiles in 2001.

These images date back several years so they might not be there now, but I am sure there will be new ones to discover.

~wander.essence~ photography

Little Italy: Part One

Many cities around the world have areas that have been created by immigrants and where you can get a flavour of the culture and cuisine of a nation. Famously, ‘Chinatowns’ spring to mind, but there are also Italian, Greek, Asian and many more where the inhabitants recreate their homeland.

One such area that I have had the pleasure to explore on several occasions is Little Italy in San Diego which was originally a fishing village based around the tuna industry. Now it is still a vibrant ‘village’ with lots of Italian restaurants and upmarket boutiques. I have quite a few photos from my visits so I shall split this into three photo posts, the first being a general wander around the area.

It’s also a very floral place as you can see.

~wander.essence~ photography


Travelling on your own I think gives you more opportunities to interact with the locals. Often as a couple you tend to be less aware of what is happening around you. When I used to accompany the OH to conferences I was on my own for a lot of the time and left to my own devices as he was busy with the actual conference. Public transport was one thing I always looked up wherever we went so that I could get around, especially in the big cities where these type of conferences are usually held, and more often than not in hotels outside of the central walking district.

Sometimes I can’t help eavesdropping whilst travelling.

San Diego: No 30 bus from Old Town Transit Center to La Jolla

Young girl, jeans, hippy top, typical scarf wrapped around her neck, several strands of necklaces, long blonde hair and carrying a backpack gets on the bus to Oceanside. She politely asks an older American guy where she gets off for the ¹Banana Bungalow. He suggests she is better off staying in the hostel in downtown SD.

“I just came from there, my friend is staying in the banana bungalow and I’ve heard some good things about it”

“Well, I hope you’ll be safe then”

“Safe? You hope I’ll be safe? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well, you know, it’s in a dodgy area. There’s drug taking and dope smoking, marijuana, you know, but if that’s what you want…”

“No! I’m English!” she cries indignantly in a very plummy voice.

He kindly offers to show her the way when they alight the bus on the corner of Mission Boulevard. I am left smiling.

¹A Pacific Beach hostel

Same bus, return journey.

A youngish chap gets on and sits facing me on the side seats. He is trendily dressed in black jeans, a black shirt, dark grey jacket, narrow indigo blue tie and is wearing black nail varnish, silver earring in one ear. He is busily marking some exercise books on his lap.  Next stop a scruffy younger guy gets on and sits next to him. He has long curly, unruly hair, a cap, messy beard and smells strongly of cigarettes.

“Hey dude, you a paralegal or something?”

“No, I am a lecturer”

“Oh, that must be so cool. To be responsible for opening minds and see students discovering stuff and learning stuff”

A wry smile. “Well yeah, that sometimes happens”

“All that finding out stuff”

“Actually I find out new things from them all the time too”

“Great, man. You’re learning, they’re learning, that’s so cool man”

Once again I am smiling.

~wander.essence~ prose